9th European Team Chess Championship: Haifa 1989

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Individual medals | Interesting games ]

Basic data

9th European Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 23 November - 3rd December 1989
City: Haifa, Israel
Venue: Dan Panorama and Dan Carmel hotels
Tournament Director: Mr. Israel Gelfer (ISR)
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 28 (incl. Israel "B")
Players participating: 216 (incl. approx. 52 GMs, 80 IMs and 30 FMs)
Games played: 756
Competition format: Four board nine round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz; 3. Match points
Time control: probably 40 moves in 2 hours, then each next 20 moves in one hour
Official logo: Haifa 1989
Downloadable game file: 89etch.zip

Tournament review

There are many reasons why 1989 Championship is a notable landmark in the ETCh history. First of all, for the first time in the 30 year old history of the Championship the preliminaries were abolished and every team was eligible to participate in the newly reformatted nine round Swiss Championship final. Then, there was a six year gap between the two consecutive Championships as the 1986 event did not finally come into being. Finally, this was last time when unbeatable Soviet team took part. The Haifa Championship definitely closed rather dull period of one team shows while the rest of Europe were struggling for what the Soviets courteously left for them.

28 teams arrived and only Holland and Denmark were absent as far as the strongest teams are concerned. The Soviet chess team were the first Soviets to have put leg on Israeli soil for more than 25 years melting to some extend the political ice in diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and Moscow. Again chess helped to unite people which follows the "gens una sumus" idea. The best European players were missing from Haifa Championship. Team USSR, led by relatively undistinguished Salov, were missing Kasparov and Karpov (of course), then Yussupov, Yudasin and some other top players. Still, their average ELO was by over 50 points superior to West Germany, pre-tournament runners-up who sent their strongest eigth to Haifa. Then came rejuvenated Yugoslav team, Hungary with two Polgár sisters (but no Portisch, Sax, Adorján, Csom...) and England - but no Miles, Short, Speelman and Mestel. Sweden and Bulgaria closed the pool of teams with average ELO exceeding 2500. Czechoslovakia, many times ETCh contenders, suffered drainage of generation of players like Jansa, Lechtýnský, Přibyl, Smejkal and others.

USSR took off well beating Spain 4½-1½ while West Germany only drew to Austria. Yugoslavia smashed Finland 5½-½ and we bet nobody would dare to predict that the losers would end in overall fourth spot! Yugoslavia took over the lead after two rounds beating Greece and Romania moved into second surprisingly hooking Sweden 4-2. The Yugoslavs strengthened their lead after day three smashing Romania 4½-1½ while other top tables saw pack of 3-3 draws, including USSR-Greece match which was sort of sensation. On the next day six of seven matches from top tables ended in 3½-2½ results and teams to benefit from it were a.o. Yugoslavia, England, Hungary and USSR. On day five Yugoslavia won fifth consecutive match beating Bulgaria by the smallest possible margin while England beat Hungary and the Soviets made up for some of the lost ground hammering West Germany 4½-1½. Standings after 5 rounds: Yugoslavia 21½; USSR 19; England 18½.

Day six brought decisive turnover in the field of the gold chase. The Soviets, who did not show convincing form at all until that day, wiped out Yugoslavia 5-1 and move into safe win. England moved into second beating Bulgaria while Hungary lost badly to France. On the next day the Soviets produced another superb result hammering strong England 5-1 to extend the margin of their lead up to clear three points. Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia narrowly beat France and Greece respectively and were lying in second and third. Bulgaria moved up to 4th after 5-1 vs Sweden. Hungary sensationally lost to Finland. That England had depressive finish must have been obvious to anyone who saw them helplessly losing to Yugoslavia 4½-1½. Germany beat Greece by the same margin and suddenly found themselves in sole third, ahead of Romania who earned hard-fought win over Czechoslovakia. On the last day gutsy Bulgarians fought heroically to held The Soviet Union to a 3-3 draw but this proved too little as West Germany beat Yugoslavia 3½-2½ and won bronze medals threatened only by Finland who finished in fourth (one of biggest surprises ever seen at the ETCh) after excellent final spurt and last round's 5-1 win over Portugal. Bulgaria came 5th ahead of Romania. England's win over Austria was enough only for 8th. Hungary in 11th and Sweden in 14th were other major disappointments of Haifa Championship.

As far as individual results are concerned, Gurevich and Tukmakov achieved best results among Soviet players while Yugoslavia's no. 1 contributor was board 2 player GM Hulak who won double gold. West Germany took third because of having strong players at all boards and reserve IM Bischoff performed at sky-high 2652 level. Finland's 4th is a luck of a millennium but still Rantanen won individual medal and performed at 2580. Other notable players: Wojtkiewicz of Poland 7/9 (ELO performed 2690 and GM norm), Hodgson of England 6½/9, Donchev of Bulgaria 5½/8 (ELOp = 2647).

Individual medals

Best Rating Performance
no. name flag code ELOp
1. GM Hulak, Krunoslav Yugoslavia YUG 2719
2. IM Wojtkiewicz, Aleksander Poland POL 2690
3. GM Hodgson, Julian Michael England ENG 2682

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Renet, Olivier France FRA 6 9 66.7
2. GM Salov, Valery Soviet Union URS 5 8 62.5
2. GM Nunn, John Denis Martin England ENG 5 8 62.5

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Hulak, Krunoslav Yugoslavia YUG 7 9 77.8
1. IM Wojtkiewicz, Aleksander Poland POL 7 9 77.8
3. GM Bellón López, Juan Manuel Spain ESP 8 68.8
3. IM Donchev, Dimitar Bulgaria BUL 8 68.8

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Grivas, Efstratios Greece GRE 9 72.2
1. GM Hodgson, Julian Michael England ENG 9 72.2
3. IM Marin, Mihail Romania ROM 6 9 66.7

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Hector, Jonny Sweden SWE 6 8 75.0
2. GM Grószpéter, Attila Hungary HUN 9 72.2
3. GM Gurevich, Mikhail Soviet Union URS 5 7 71.4

5th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. FM Sanna, Gianlazzaro Italy ITA 7 9 77.8
2. IM Cramling, Pia Sweden SWE 6 75.0
2. GM Wahls, Matthias Germany GER 6 75.0

6th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Lupu, Mircea-Sergiu Romania ROM 7 9 77.8
1. IM Djurhuus, Rune Norway NOR 7 9 77.8
3. GM Rantanen, Yrjö Finland FIN 6 75.0

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Bischoff, Klaus Germany GER 7 78.6
1. Vanderwaeren, Serge Belgium BEL 7 78.6
3. GM Eingorn, Vyacheslav Soviet Union URS 5 7 71.4
3. IM Kosten, Anthony Cornelius England ENG 5 7 71.4

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Tukmakov, Vladimir Soviet Union URS 6 75.0
2. FM Fioramonti, Hung Switzerland SUI 5 7 71.4
3. Nokso-Koivisto, Antti Finland FIN 4 6 66.7

Interesting games

Brave exchange sacrifice followed by Comedy of Errors under time pressure.
Polgár, Judit (HUN) - Adams, Michael (ENG) 1 - 0

To expose the Kingside pawns is always sort of a risk.
Adams, Michael (ENG) - Fernandes, António (POR) 1 - 0

Frankly speaking both GMs played as if they were drunk.
Kortschnoj, Viktor (SUI) - Rivas Pastor, Manuel (ESP) 1 - 0

Black's 10th move was awarded to be "one of 110 most fantastic moves ever played".
Greenfeld, Alon(ISR) - Polgár, Judit (HUN) 0 - 1

The Haifa twins (remember Gothenburg 1955 triplets?) - moves 1-23 are identical.
Stempin, Paweł (POL) - Cramling, Pia (SWE) 0 - 1
Schmidt, Włodzimierz (POL) - Wedberg, Tom (SWE) 1 - 0

White blundered a piece on 22nd move of Ruy Lopez Marshall.
Renet, Olivier (FRA) - Nunn, John (ENG) 0 - 1

White conducted decisive attack while Black pieces were wandering at the rim of the board.
Inkiov, Ventzislav (BUL) - Schüssler, Harry (SWE) 1 - 0

Shortest decisive game.
Mokrý, Karel (CSR) - Arlandi, Ennio (ITA) 1 - 0

World's youngest GM blundered mate and lost the Rook ending with an extra pawn.
Beliavsky, Alexander (URS) - Adams, Michael (ENG) 1 - 0

An excellent tactical demolition of an uncastled King.
Hodgson, Julian (ENG) - Polgár, Zsuzsa (HUN) 1 - 0

A drastic case: two most simple piece blunders in two consecutive games.
Holmes, Donald (SCO) - Brady, Stephen (IRL) 1 - 0
Brady, Stephen (IRL) - Yasin, Hür (TUR) 0 - 1